We knew the Rays were going to take a step back defensively when they signed Johnny Damon to replace Gold Glover Carl Crawford in left field. Unfortunately for Rays fans, the difference became pretty clear during yesterday’s Opening Day loss to Orioles.
Damon sprinted to catch up with a ball that was hit to the left center field gap by Brian Roberts in the top of the fifth inning. He went into a slide and then tried to transfer the ball to center fielder B.J. Upton, but let’s just say that didn’t work out too well. It went for a two-run triple.
As Damon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the play was bizarrely reminiscent of the time Manny Ramirez infamously cut off Damon’s throw at Fenway Park.
“We were trying to do that triple cutoff man again,” Damon said. “Manny’s not out there, so I thought I would try it with B.J.”
Hey, at least Damon has a sense of humor about the whole thing. Have to give him credit for that.
You can watch the play here or just keep reliving it in GIF form. It has no doubt affected my productivity this morning.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.